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by Jez Spinks

The flagship model of the new 2012 Mazda CX-5 range will cost more than $50,000 driveaway, according to a new competition being run by the Japanese brand.

Mazda Australia is offering a Mazda CX-5 GT Diesel automatic as an online prize, and in the terms and conditions the company lists the vehicle’s value as $55,000 including all dealer and on-road costs.

The CX-5 is eventually expected to replace the relatively short-lived CX-7 as Mazda’s representative in the competitive compact SUV segment – as CarAdvice reported recently – though the two models will be sold side by side from March.

Mazda has yet to release pricing details for the CX-5, but admits the competition details provide a strong indicator of the cost for the range-topping model.

“No pricing has been officially signed off yet,” said Mazda Australia spokesman Steve Maciver. “But if running a competition you have to provide an indicative price of what the vehicle is worth.

“There will be a wider line-up with CX-5 compared with CX-7.”

The CX-5 Diesel is priced higher than expeced but the model is still set to start from below $30,000, however, with a 121kW 2.0-litre petrol manual, front-wheel drive model forming the base model. That undercuts the CX-7 that comprises four models, starting at $33,990 and ending with a $45,990 luxury variant.

A higher-specified CX-5 front-drive model could start in the low-$30,000 bracket, while a petrol AWD model is certain to be priced potentially in the mid-$30,000 area with a range-topping petrol-powered GT AWD model moving above $40,000.

Mazda Australia will take the higher-powered version of the brand’s new SkyActiv-D 2.2-litre turbo diesel, which offers 129kW of power and 420Nm of torque compared to the detuned 110kW/150Nm version that will also be available in other markets.

It would be surprising if Mazda didn’t offer the diesel CX-5 with a lower specification so it could start in the low-$40,000 price point as with the current CX-7 diesel.

The flagship CX-5, which based on its $55,000 indicative pricing that includes all on-road costs, should have a recommend retail price not far under $50,000.

Expect the GT Diesel (and potential GT petrol) to be heavy with standard features including leather seats, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, Bose surround system audio system, and a rear view camera.

Active safety systems that will be available on the CX-5 and can be presumed to be inclusive for the flagship are a lane departure warning system, though it’s not yet clear whether a new Smart City Brake Support – Mazda’s new collision avoidance technology – will be offered.

Pictures of a higher-spec CX-5 interior also reveal the GT will include a BMW iDrive-style rotary menu controller dial on the centre console.